September 16, 2006

the Team's first mistake

In the wee hours of last Wednesday, a plane was taking off to London. On board was a British subject of Sudanese origin, being freshly deported. (Lucky him. If it were not for his British passport, no one would have a pass to him for some time to come). The day before, his place was raided; he was arrested and charged – in all seriousness- with attempting to overthrow the regime. You’d think his name is an acronym of some front for the liberation of this island. But his name was Salah Al-Bandar, Ph.D. By all accounts, a bright, well-informed, well-known -and well-paid- Briton of Sudanese birth and fame who worked for the last while as a consultant for the CIO.

Until last week, it was all clear blue skies and perfect mission for the Team. Not even Bapco or Alba could ever come close to their impeccable safety record of millions of accident-free work hours. The Team’s silent, methodic would even earn them a distinction worthy of the “Office of Mr. Deputy” of early 70’s Iraq. I hope the word re-baathification comes to no one’s mind here. The ambitions are vastly different - and bigger- here.

Only two local papers carried the story, and only one (Al-Waqt) named the name. But they all went mum the day after. No surprise there. But if the deporters thought this is the last to be heard from the deportee, they are in for a record-shattering surprise.

Mr. al-Bandar, it turned out, had written an extensive report to No.1 and No. 2 of the land detailing what he saw as a big conspiracy to derail the upcoming elections. As he donned his earphone piece aboard the flight that day, a copy of the report had a flight of its own to the more sympathetic ears of the opposition.

Those who saw the report say it runs in about 50 pages plus a couple of hundreds more in documentation. It speaks of a special team of 4 Jordanians charged with surveying and analyzing the political and electoral scene, compensated with upward of BD1600 monthly each. (I tip a hat for their manifested thoroughness). Of a slush fund of BD 2 million to manipulate elections. Of a special media team to inundate local and international media with anti-opposition articles and stories. Of concerted effort to ensure that four named Sunni candidates (including Dr. Salah Ali and Jamal Dawood) plus three unnamed Shia Sayyid candidates do win. Of a program to pay money to Shia families who converted to Sunniism. Of how much Al-Watan’s is monthly-subsidized (BD100 K). Of how much an editor in chief and a head of a “human rights watch” are being paid for their teamwork, etc, etc, all in crystal clear photocopied documents.

In these early hours of the electoral season, this story is bound to take off. No one could blame them. There is no such thing as a perfect mission after all.


At 6:12 PM, Anonymous Mahmood Al-Yousif said...

I thought something was defintely fishy about the sudden departure, turned to incredulity when I read of the charges. Shenanigans I though... but I never though it is at the level of "Bandargate" until I read your piece.

Thanks for the information.

Let the games begin!

At 8:20 PM, Anonymous hamohd said...

yes ..Let the games begin!

At 2:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let us not rush things. Al-Bandar is married to a shiite Bahraini lady. Does that give a clue.. Wives do have influence on husbands. The individuals mentioned to have received money
in return for joining a network are known to be noble and faithful and never known to compromise on their human values.


At 8:28 PM, Blogger MR said...

Jamal, while it serves no purpose to drag his family in, his wife is a Sunni Bahraini lady of Zinzibari origin. (And anything but a Shia symapthizer judging by her old company days).

As for your vouching for the nobility of all those mentioned in the report (and they are legion), I would be the happiest person the day Al Bandar's allegation are proven wrong by an idependent panel. I hope you'd support that. Thanks for dropping by.

At 10:58 AM, Anonymous ...and I'll show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. said...

a cautionary word to all of you investors out here (and there!). Re-evaluate and assess your exit plans. The information is alarming to say the least…


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